Mike Ehrmann / Associated Press
LeBron James, the guardian and striker of the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters he hoped the NBA had made former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick proud after pre-game protests during the national anthem.
Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
LeBron James knelt during the anthem to protest against systemic racism: “I hope we made Kaep proud.” LeBron then declares his gratitude to the military https://t.co/FHYWyD06Hm
“Cape was someone who got up when times weren’t pleasant,” said James (h / t Lauren A. Jones of the Los Angeles Sentinel). “When people didn’t understand … it had absolutely nothing to do with the flag, he explained it and people never listened. I did! We just thank him for sacrificing everything he did. “
Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to protest against systemic racism and police brutality during the 2016 NFL season.
As Rhiannon Walker (then The Undefeated) noted in a summary of reactions to Kaepernick’s actions, the quarterback received praise, fierce criticism, and some mixed reactions to his work in the sports world.
Ultimately, after the 2016 season, Kaepernick had left the NFL work despite his production in a mostly dying 49ers team (18 touchdowns in total and only four interceptions in 11 games).
On Thursday, players, coaches, and umpires who participated in the Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers games knelt during the anthem, with players wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.
@Utahjazz and @PelicansNBA are kneeling in solidarity as @JonBatiste performs the national anthem before the NBA restart. https://t.co/dQeHSbUx87
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
United for a bigger cause. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/dthLmon0a7
NBA players continued the fight for social justice by playing the rest of the season on the league’s Walt Disney World campus near Orlando, Florida, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that caused a four and a half month ban Campaign 2019-20 from March 11th.
James explained the news of the league in a postgame interview with NBA TV and NBA about TNT reporter Jared Greenberg after his team’s 103-101 victory, which was 12.8 seconds ahead with his game-winning shot and the subsequent shutdown defense on the other End was limited:
NBA on TNT @NBAonTNT
“We want to keep accelerating … continue to spread love across America.” @KingJames discusses the restart and social change of the NBA with @JaredSGreenberg. https://t.co/HubuVKV03X
He also posted this Instagram caption, which is linked to a picture in which he raises his fist while kneeling during the anthem on Thursday: “What is your purpose in life? Create change, motivate and inspire others, some of me! I hope just that I keep doing it. ” make you all proud! I love you all! ❤️❤️❤️✊????✊???? #BlackLivesMatter #ThankYouKap #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor. ???? “
News from players comes in various forms, with some thoughts during post-game or post-training press conferences.
It is noteworthy that after Utah’s 104-102 win over the Pels, jazz shooter Donovan Mitchell unveiled a bulletproof vest listing people killed due to police brutality:
Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks
One statement – Donovan Mitchell has a bulletproof vest. The vest bears the name of numerous people who were killed due to police brutality. He adds the quote “Am I the next one?” https://t.co/wUp1QYYNQk
In addition, players from all four teams have listed messages on the back of their jerseys to support social justice. Examples include “Say Her Name”, “Equality” and “Black Lives Matter”.
The NBA restart will continue on Friday with six more games, starting with Orlando Magic’s inclination to the Brooklyn Nets at 2:30 p.m. ET.